Shambhala Youth Retreat

This programme has ended. View the upcoming programmes.
14 July 2013 - 21 July 2013
Acharya Orhun Cercel

When something changes, it is a sign of it being alive. After seven wonderful editions of Young Sangha Summer Retreats we find ourselves looking back and looking forward; how will we continue? How can we create an environment wherein young people can connect with the Shambhala-dharma, the practice of meditation in a retreat setting and last but not least, each other?

In a lot of ways the Being Brave retreat, also known as the Sangha retreat, accomplishes these desires. That is why this year we have opted for a package-program. This year’s Shambhala Youth Retreat will consist of participation in the Being Brave retreat with Acharya Orhun Cercel, followed by a week-long youth-only retreat. Since the Youth retreat will build on the Being Brave retreat, it is offered to you as a one price package.

The Shambhala Youth Retreat will have a strong focus on the practice of meditation. We will discuss and practice with shamatha-vipashyana, loving-kindness and compassion-practices, and techniques to work with emotions. Acharya Cercel and a team of skilled meditation instructors together with the program staff will provide a strong container wherein there will be lots of time for practice, but also bodywork, discussion, exploration and celebration.

Participants of previous years will notice that this retreat is no longer held simultaneously with Family Camp. There is, however, still an option to stay in Dechen Chöling and help out with childcare and/or other areas. This entails staying and working in Dechen Chöling from the 21st of July until the 4th of August, fully becoming part of the staff container and helping out wherever needed. Doing so will reduce the price of the Shambhala Youth Retreat by 100 Euros.

For any further questions and registration, please write to


Being Brave Retreat + Shambhala Youth Retreat 

6th of July until 21st of July - €595


Being Brave Retreat + Shambhala Youth Retreat + Family Camp Staff 

6th of July until 4th of August - €495


Prices are on an own-tent basis, surcharge for a Dechen Chöling tent is €75



Youth Camp Coordinator Jelmer Hoogeboom offers more information on this highly-spirited summer programme:    


Who are young people who join the Youth Camp: How old are they? Where do they come from? And what motivates them to go to the Youth Camp?

The people who joined the previous youth retreats were between the ages of 16 and 35. That's quite a broad spectrum, but we encourage everyone who feels attracted to the name to come. The group composition changes each year which makes every single retreat unique and very interesting. Usually the participants come from Europe, but last year the United States were also well-represented. The reasons for people to come also vary greatly. Some have been born and bred in the Shambhala sangha and see it as a way to reconnect with friends from abroad. Others never meditated before in their lives and just want to experience a retreat, some see it as a great way to make new friends on the Path.


For the first time this year, the Youth Camp will build on the Being Brave retreat, what is the idea behind this initiative?

We noticed that a lot of young people were attracted to the Being Brave program, so in some way it was a logical or practical decision. But I also believe that the themes presented in Being Brave are so powerful that they are worth the extra contemplation and time spent on them. Another reason was that it felt the right time for a change. The Youth Retreat always varied in topics, but the overall structure remained the same. It felt like it was time for a little experimentation.


Can you tell us more about the activities that will take place during the Youth Camp?

This year we really want to offer people true possibilities to practice. What exact form they will take will depend on the people and their respective levels of experience, but you can expect lots of sitting meditation, alternated with relevant talks and movement-exercises like yoga, Qigong or lujong. In the evenings we might also have some campfires. There will also be an opportunity to experience the famous night markets, where local producers offer you a selection of barbecued meat and veg, bread, beers and wines.


This year, participants can choose to stay on and work as volunteers during the Family Camp. What does a typical day as a volunteer look like?

If you decide to stay on as staff you will become part of the Dechen Chöling staff container which means that you will have breakfast and meditate in the morning and start your work in childcare, facilities, the kitchen or the garden afterwards. Then have lunch, a small break and continue your work in the afternoon, after which there will be more meditation. Dinner will be served shortly afterwards and in the evenings you are free to do as you please. You can take nice walks in the pleasant surroundings, build a campfire with your friends, or organise a night meditation-session on hay bales.


How will food and accommodation be organised?   

During the stay at Dechen Chöling, you will be fully taken care of. Whether you are using your own tent or one of Dechen Chöling’s (75 euros extra) is up to you. You will be able to enjoy simple healthy breakfasts and two catered, 100% organic meals a day, straight from Dechen Chöling’s kitchen.


Having been a participant for the past few years, what is your most memorable Youth Camp experience?

Dechen Chöling's curious, neighboring cows mooing loudly while meditating in the shrine room, swimming in the nearby river, or the immensely entertaining nights at the campfires, I can't choose. It’s such open and fun-loving experience!


To register please get in touch with Jelmer at

We will  be an international group and the retreat is taught in English.